Social Media and Solicitation: What’s the (Digital) Connection?

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It used to be that prostitution and other sex crimes existed in an untouchable underworld. But in the digital age, it’s easier than ever to access or become involved in this kind of dangerous and illegal activity. Now, you can merely stumble upon a certain website or Instagram account and find yourself ensnared in a crime. In today’s post, we’ll discuss some examples of how social media is playing a more prominent role in prostitution crimes and some ways you can reduce your risk of ever needing help from a prostitution defense attorney.

How Social Media is Used to Engage People in Prostitution

Traditional prostitution ad platforms may be shutting down, but that doesn’t mean that these sex crimes are going away. In fact, they may be more prevalent than ever — and they’re hiding in plain sight. Over the last several years, there have been numerous reports of prostitution and sex trafficking rings being run by individuals who have no qualms about using social media to make contact with victims. In many cases, these victims may be underage children, though pimps have also been known to target others. Social media provides easy access into the victim’s world, allowing these criminals to discover what’s lacking in the victim’s life. They use this information to manipulate the victim and eventually force them (in one way or another) to perform acts of prostitution.

It’s not only pimps and prostitutes who are using social media to engage in this lifestyle. Those who wish to pay for these services often turn to these platforms, as well. While such activity may not be allowed under the platform’s terms of service, that doesn’t necessarily stop anyone from taking part. What’s more, law enforcement know this all too well. Police officers have been known to pose as prostitutes or even as minors to entice individuals to meet in real life and entrap them for their intended crimes.

How to Steer Clear of Social Media Sex Crimes

Considering that prostitution and solicitation are considered Class A misdemeanors (punishable by up to a year in prison and up to $6,250 in fines), any prostitution defense attorney will tell you that the wrong kind of social media activity has the power to derail your entire future. And with so much digital evidence, even the most experienced prostitution lawyers will have a more difficult time defending you if you don’t adhere to social media guidelines.

It should go without saying, but in case it isn’t clear: stay off of websites and forums that are in any way known for prostitution or illegal activity. You should also refrain from using certain apps or chat features that are associated with underage individuals or sex crimes in general. If you use online dating websites, ensure that the age parameters you set are appropriate and lawful. Discontinue communications with anyone who could potentially be underage or who promises the exchange of sexual favors for financial gain or any other valuable service. Parents should also monitor their children’s online activities to ensure they aren’t conversing with strangers or posting/engaging in inappropriate content. Essentially, if you worry that you could get in trouble for something you say (or that someone else has said), listen to your gut. Otherwise, you may soon need assistance from prostitution attorneys.

If you have been arrested and charged with this type of sex crime, it’s essential to hire a prostitution defense attorney right away. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.